• Careers
  • Contact Us
  • Log In

Gender Identification of Chicks

Each Hy-Line chick must be individually examined at hatch to identify its gender before shipping to customers or housing.

There are 3 methods to determine the sex of a newly hatched Hy-Line chick:

Vent sexing is difficult and should be performed by trained professionals. In contrast, color and feather sexing is relatively easy. Vent sexing can be used to check questionable color or feather sexing.

Color sexing
Color sexing of Hy-Line Brown can be conducted when the chicks are taken from the hatcher before other processing is started.


  • Buffy-red color (Figure 1)
  • Red around base of the beak and around the eyes (Figure 2)
  • Two or four red stripes on back (Figure 3)

Figure 1 - Female chicks

Figure 2 - Female chicks with red around the eyes

Figure 3 - Female chicks with two or four red stripes on back



  • Generally yellow (white) (Figure 4)
  • May have round, red spot on head and neck (Figure 5)
  • May have one red stripe on back (Figure 6)

Figure 4 - Male chicks' heads

Figure 5 - Male chicks with red spot on head


Figure 6 - Male chicks with red stripe in the middle of the back

Feather sexing
Hy-Line W-36 commercial chicks are sexable by means of the wing feathers. The female commercial chicks show fast feathering (primary wing feathers are longer than the covert feathers) and male chicks are slow feathering (primary and covert feathers are the same length). In a small percentage of male chicks, covert feathers may be longer than the primary feathers (super slow feathering). These chicks are males.

Fast feathering = female chick

Sight: Coverts are shorter than primaries
Feel: Coverts are thin and primaries are thick

Slow feathering = male chick

: Coverts and primaries are short and same height
Feel: Coverts and primaries same thickness

Super slow feathering = male chick

: Coverts are longer than primary feathers
Feel: Coverts and primaries same thickness


Previous Subject Next Subject